Tag Archives: bus passes

Free bus passes for all can make financial sense

As we slowly emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions there has been, understandably, a marked increase in road traffic. In particular, Britain’s love affair with the car has largely created the congestion on our roads. Seldom is one able to complete a journey without delays due to accident, road works, or just sheer numbers of vehicles.

To alleviate such congestion, we are encouraged to make more use of public transport. Using buses instead of private cars could significantly reduce the number of vehicles on the roads.

But people are reluctant to give up their cars, Covid fears notwithstanding. It takes some incentive to persuade them to abandon their warm personal transport and take their chances at the local bus stop. In Scotland, congestion charging was rejected by Edinburgh and parking charges are an insufficient deterrent.  And bridge tolls have been banished.

How can we get people to use public transport? A blinding flash of the obvious; in Scotland, where I live, old people and young people use public transport because of the Young Scot card and the senior citizens card.

I don’t use my car anymore to go into town.  It’s madness for me to drive, search for a parking place, pay the fee, and spend much of the time worrying whether I will get a fine before I return. I can travel for free with my card. It is a no-brainer.

What if we extended this “free” benefit to everybody? Scotland has been very keen on other free universal benefits so why not public transport? But how would we pay for it? How much will it cost?

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Steve Webb writes: working for pensioners, now and in the future

When I was appointed Pensions Minister last May my first priority was protecting current pensioners. It was widely assumed that the spending review would see cuts to a range of forms of help that pensioners receive. But despite the spending pressures, the budgets for bus passes, free television licences, free prescriptions and the Winter Fuel Allowance have been protected at the level set out by the previous government. Better still, where Labour had planned to cut Cold Weather Payments to £8.50 per week we have made them £25 permanently to protect the most vulnerable when the temperature is below …

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , , and | 29 Comments
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